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Ante-Nuptial Contracts

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Ante-Nuptial Contracts

In SA it is advisable for couples to sign an Ante-Nuptial Contract (ANC) prior to getting married. This is a legal document that determines what becomes of your possessions in the unfortunate event of death or divorce. Our upfront, all-inclusive fee is among the most competitive in KZN ensuring no hidden costs when you least expect them.

Married in Community of Property.

Without an ANC, couples will be automatically married in the Community of Property (COP).

This means there is a joint estate where everything will be split down the middle in the event of divorce. The entire estate is then left vulnerable to creditors with no protection to one person’s assets.

Married in Community of Property.

There are two options when entering an Ante-Nuptial Contract, this is typically done to protect assets and separate estates. If married with an ANC it’s advisable to purchase assets in the name of the partner less at risk of becoming insolvent. Should insolvency or business liquidation be the case, creditors chase for any personal assets, however, assets in the other partner’s name are protected.

A straight Ante-Nuptial Contract implies that parties maintain separate estates from the beginning, during and at the end of the marriage. Any increase or fall in the estate either parties would not benefit from the estate. This ANC is appropriate for people who marry more than once or who get married later in life.

An Ante-Nuptial Contract with an Accrual is where spouses start with an inception value, which will not be shared in the event of death or divorce, however, parties will equally split the increase in their combined estates. The law states this in a more convoluted way, but essentially the inception values or excluded assets are removed from the combined total of the estates and the remaining value is shared equally between the parties. An ANC with Accrual mimics the sharing benefits of being married in the Community of Property.

The right to share in the Accrual of the other spouse’s estate arises in the event of death, divorce or if a court orders otherwise.

What does an Ante-nuptial Contract cost?

The fee includes drafting, all copies, a letter for your minister/priest/marriage officer, registration fees, and of course the consultation fee.

To comply with social distancing, we are available for consultation with you via Zoom or Whatsapp video. We will explain the various options available to you and help you decide on which is suited to your needs.

Once you are both happy, we will finalise the document for you to sign on the same day. The document will then get registered in the Deeds office.

The most important thing is that you sign before you get married. Let Viv Greene Attorneys draw up your Ante-Nuptial Contract.

If you would like to know more about Ante-Nuptial Contracts, Fin24 have written a really informative article on the subject. Click Here to read it.

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FAQ - Antenuptial Contracts

  • What is the meaning of antenuptial contract?

    An antenuptial contract is a legal document signed by a couple, regulating the terms and conditions of their marriage. It determines what becomes of their possessions in the event of death or divorce. Upon entering into the agreement, spouses agree to exclude the system of Community of Property from their marriage.

  • When must an antenuptial contract be signed?

    An antenuptial contract must be signed before the wedding ceremony, but does not have to be registered before the wedding. You will be issued with a certificate by the notary as proof for the marriage officer. The contract must be registered within three months of execution (signing), in a Deeds Office in South Africa.

  • Can an antenuptial contract be signed after marriage?

    No, by law you cannot sign an antenuptial contract after marriage. If you did not not properly execute an antenuptial contract before getting married you are by default married in community of property.

  • What does married in community of property mean?

    Being married in community of property means that all the assets and debts from before the marriage are shared in a joint estate between both spouses, and no antenuptial contract will have been signed. The couples separate estates are combined, and each spouse can dispose of the assets as they wish. They are legally equal managers of the joint estate.

  • What is antenuptial contract with accrual?

    An Ante-Nuptial Contract with an Accrual is where spouses start with an inception value, which will not be shared in the event of death or divorce, however, parties will equally split the increase in their combined estates.

  • What is excluded from Accrual?

    Excluded assets owned by either spouse, or even  jointly, that they would like to ignore when calculating accrual.

    By excluding an asset, you prevent your spouse from obtaining any benefit from the growth on the value of that asset during the marriage.

  • What is the difference between a prenuptial and antenuptial agreement?

    There is no difference between an antenuptial agreement, or prenuptial agreement (prenup). The latter term is used more widely in the USA. They are both contracts made between two individuals planning to get married.

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